Brahms & Schumann

Clara and Robert Schumann made up the most gifted musical married couple of the mid-nineteenth century. They aided the career of their remarkable protégé, Johannes Brahms, in many ways. Brahms developed a powerful love for Clara that she did not return. The first three compositions on this program display the three composers’ unsurpassed skill in small forms – in particular, the late, inward piano pieces by Brahms – while the fourth, the colossal and profoundly dramatic Piano Quintet may reflect the depth of Brahms’s love for Clara. He struggled to find the most appropriate instrumentation for this music. He first conceived the Piano Quintet as a piece for string quintet (with two cellos) and revised it first for two pianos before undergoing its final metamorphosis into the Piano Quintet.

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